So, you want to start your own online business. You know you have to create your own website, start your own ezine and generate traffic to your site before you can make sales.
So far so good. But ... sales of what, exactly? What do you sell?
Fortunately, options are many and varied. Basically, though, everything falls into one of two categories ... products or services. We're going to take a closer look at a few relatively easy options for when you want to get started and get started NOW.
What kinds of products can you sell from your website assuming you don't already have something available? Your best bet is anything that can be delivered digitally such as software and information products.
When it comes to selling software or information products, you have three basic choices:
1. you can create your own product from scratch, e.g., by writing a software program, a cgi script or an e-book;
2. you can join affiliate programs and sell products already created by other people and earn a commission for every sale;
3. you can join a multi-level marketing (or network marketing) plan; or
4. you can acquire resell rights for products already created by other people and keep 100% of profit.
Option 1. is a must-do. Eventually. But when you're itching to get started, you don't want to have to wait 3 or 4 months it takes you to write your ebook before you can launch your online business.
Option 2. is great for a quick start but you're working on commission. Someone else is getting lion's share of profit for your hard work.
Option 3. is a good choice if you're a natural networker. For more information about MLM and whether it might be right for you, check out my article "Not MLM! ... Why Ever Not?" at http://www.ahbbo.com/notmlm.html .
Option 4. (along with option 3.) is where real money is, at least compared to option 2. Acquire resale rights as well as product and you're not working on commission any more -- you're working for serious profit.
Where do you go to acquire products that can be delivered digitally with full resale rights? There are several good sources but here are a few tried and true sources, each excellent places to start:
What kinds of services can you sell from your website? How about advertising space in your ezine or on your website? How about a members-only area of your site, access to which requires payment of a membership fee?
=> Advertising Space
Since you really need to be publishing an ezine on a regular basis to stay in contact with, and generate, web site visitors, it makes sense to make money from something you already have to do anyway. Selling advertising space is a good revenue-generator.
Don't try selling your ad space until you have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers or so. Until you get to that point by all means offer free ads in your ezine though. That's a good way to generate subscribers and get your readers used to seeing ads in your publication. Ad swapping with other publishers during this period (and beyond) is also a good way to generate new subscribers.
Once you reach 1,000 mark, you can start offering your ad space for sale. The days when you could publish an ezine with a classified ad section of 20 or 30 ads are long gone. Ezine readers are much more savvy and discerning and, as a result, ezine advertisers are much more selective and will look for ezines that run few ads and which place them strategically amongst content, or "meat" of ezine itself rather than being stuck in a great glob that nobody reads at end.
Think also about sending solo mailings to your list as another source of revenue. Be particularly circumspect when it comes to these mailings, however. Solo mailings are very effective when targeted to right audience and so advertisers love them. Ezine subscribers have varying attitudes towards them though. Some will immediately unsubscribe from an ezine that sends solo mailings. Others will accept them so long as ezine itself is worth receiving.
Personally, I don't worry about losing subscribers just because I send solo mailings. The acceptance of solo mailings (which are, in my case, limited to one per week) is price I ask my subscribers to pay to receive my ezine for free. The advertising revenue I receive is how I pay my costs and make a profit. If people aren't prepared to receive a solo a week in exchange for ezine then they'll unsubscribe and that's fine with me because they're not prepared to make a fair exchange and were never going to buy from my advertiser anyway.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pricing your ads. Basically, you want to achieve some measure of equilibrium between supply and demand. If you have more demand for your ad space than supply, increase your prices until demand is in line with supply, do not increase number of ads. The more ads you run, more you dilute their effectiveness for your advertisers and less likely your advertisers are to place repeat business with you. In other words, by taking a short-term increase in profits, you sacrifice longer-term profitability of your business. You're cutting off your nose to spite your face.